October 3, 2023   3 MIN READ

Secondary Struggle

Q&A: Week 4 Exposes Issues on Defense


The Philadelphia Eagles remain undefeated despite some inconsistencies on both sides of the ball.

On the latest episode of “Q&A,” former Eagles standouts Jason Avant and Quintin Mikell broke down the team’s Week 4 victory and identified areas that need to be improved.

James Bradberry

Eagles CB James Bradberry is adjusting to his new role in the slot

Defensive Letdown

Quintin Mikell: “The last play (in regulation), I lost my mind. We needed to go zero blitz. We just have to bring some pressure because you have a young quarterback in gametime situation, you don’t want to play soft. Not only did we not pressure, we played that soft stick route defense.”

Jason Avant: “Here is my problem with the whole sequence: we pressured them in that drive two times. In that moment, there is no more room for soft defense. You have to beat them at that moment. This is no longer zone defense, this is man coverage time…It’s almost like they did not watch the Buffalo Bills tape. The entire game, we let Sam Howell be comfortable and look like he has a future in Washington because we did not light him up, we picked and chose when we rushed five people. You put a guy back there with Coach (Andy) Reid’s brain (Eric Bienemy) and they were running the same plays that I ran and you let somebody scheme you up. You have to be more aggressive.”

Passing Game

Avant: “Last year after the bye week, we were up and down. We made an effort to get A.J. Brown more touches down the field and it worked so we started playing through Brown…It’s beneficial to us in the passing game for sure…I did like Jalen Hurts being aggressive down the field. He took some calculated risks. Hurts threw some dimes.”

Pass Coverage

Mikell: “Our passive play in the secondary really made Sam Howell feel comfortable and got juices flowing and in his rhythm. The Eagles played a little bit more man, but if you are playing man about seven or eight yards off, that is pitch and catch.” 

James Bradberry

Mikell: “I still don’t understand why we are playing Bradberry in the slot. I understand the idea behind it, he has played it before. But if it’s me, I’m leaving Bradberry and Slay outside and developing whoever I can at nickel. If you are moving Bradberry inside, now you have two spots where they can attack. Bradberry doesn’t seem that comfortable playing inside.”

Avant: “I see why they are doing it. He has the most experience and the slot is tough to play, it is a lot to ask a rookie to do…those responsibilities in the run fits are totally foreign and the nickel blitzes more than any other corner. The older player will have the most experience. However, I think the answer would be to put Bradberry back outside and go get a veteran free agent.” 


Avant: “[The referees] were being so ticky-tacky with calls. They have to understand the spirit of the game before they make a call. When you make a pass interference call, you have to realize what position the guy is in.”

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